Crafty kid uses clever trick to watch YouTube despite iPhone restrictions


youtube on a phone
Here's how to do it.
Photo: Szabo Viktor/Unsplash

Apple makes technology so intuitive that even a kid can pick it up and use its basic features without too many problems. But they probably shouldn’t be able to find feature-breaking bugs, right?

According to a recent Reddit post, an 8-year-old kid was able to find a workaround to the Screen Time restrictions that let parents block out access to apps like YouTube. This feature was introduced in iOS 12 to record the amount of time users spend looking at their devices. It also lets parents better control what their offspring are doing on an iOS device.

Well, at least it does in theory…

A Redditor posted Monday that, “I saw that my 8-year-old sister was on her iPhone 6 on iOS 12.4.6 using YouTube past her screen time limit. Turns out, she discovered a bug with screen time in Messages that allows the user to use apps that are available in the iMessage App Store.”

Accessing YouTube despite the restrictions

The workaround involves the user starting a new message in Apple’s Messages app. They must then pull up the app’s app bar, open the Messages App Store, hit the magnifying glass icon, and then search for the app they wish to open. Tap “Open” and the app will then launch as requested. According to the Redditor’s original post, they tried it on their own iPhone, running the latest iOS 13.4.1, and found that it worked as well.

A video posted by the YouTube channel HotHardware, shared by Forbes contributor Marco Chiappetta, shows how it works.

This isn’t the first time enterprising kids have found a way around Screen Time limitations. While this particular bug seems like it should be one that’s relatively easy for Apple to fix, it just goes to show that it’s not only security professionals and hackers who are out to find exploits in Apple’s software. It’s also kids who really, really want to watch YouTube, too.

If only their siblings wouldn’t rat them out for the world to see…


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